You’ll Love Beetle-Foot Tape

first_imgIf beetles can do it, scientists should be able to: climb the wall, that is.  Some researchers at Max Planck Institute have invented an adhesive that sticks to glass like beetle feet.  The secret was to manufacture thousands of microscopic pads that adhere to smooth surfaces by van der Waals forces (the attraction of neighboring atoms).  “Inspired by the soles of beetles’ feet, and therefore biomimetic, the special surface structure of the material allows it to stick to smooth walls without any adhesives.”  The press release tells how bugs and reptiles had it first:It has been known for some time how insects, spiders and geckos have such a remarkable talent for walking on walls and ceilings. Extremely thin hairs literally stick their feet to the wall and the larger the animal, the finer the hairs.  Geckos, which are heavy compared to a fly, have been using nanotechnology for this purpose for millions of years ….  According to findings made by scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Metals Research in Stuttgart, the shape of the fibres is also significant; for example, spatula-shaped ends on the hairs provide particularly strong adhesion.How might beetle-foot or gecko-foot adhesives be used?  Reusable adhesive tape, soles for climbers’ boots (Spider-man?) come to mind.  What else?Potential applications range from protective foil for delicate glasses to reusable adhesive fixtures – say goodbye to fridge magnets, here come the microhairs, which will also stick to your mirror, your cupboard and your windows.  For example, the new material will soon be found in industrial production processes in the manufacture of glass components.  It has already been shown to perform in higher weight categories: the artificial adhesive fibers on the soles of a 120 gram robot helped it to climb a vertical glass wall.It was quite an engineering challenge to design the prototype, and the bugs are still being worked out (if Mr. Beetle Bailey will pardon the expression).  Their product, when it comes on the market, will be user-friendly: “It lasts for hundreds of applications, does not leave any visible marks and can be thoroughly cleaned with soap and water.”You can just hear the commercials already.  What should they call this stuff?  It should beat out any TV ads for kaboom, vacuum cleaner robots and battery-free flashlights.  Put on your announcer voice and say, “Sticks to almost anything.  Leaves no marks and requires no messy cleanup.  Use it in the kitchen, the bathroom, the office.  Protect your eyeglasses and priceless photographs.  Leave yourself notes on the window.  Perfect for the artist or draftsman.  Usable anywhere – everywhere.  It’s amazing!   But wait!  Order now, and we’ll throw in this self-cleaning windshield, a $60 value, absolutely free!  You get a hundred-foot roll of GeckoTape, a whisker robot for the kids, and the self-cleaning windshield, all for just $39.99.  What are you waiting for?  Operators are standing by to take your call.  Call now!  1-800-THANK-ID.”    So geckos have been using nanotechnology for millions of years, they say.  Was this by intelligent design?  No, it couldn’t have been.  It is so vastly superior to human engineering, it must have been made by blind, mindless processes of accidental chance.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Oprah spreads her love

first_imgOprah Winfrey brought her brand of hope to South Africa recently. (Images: Nokuphila Nyawo) MEDIA CONTACTS • Jaco-Louis Groenewald   PR Manager, Associated Media Publishing  +27 21 464 6250. RELATED ARTICLES • Oprah’s girls get 100% matric pass • Africa’s social change champions • Women taking SA forward • Madiba: role model for South Africa’s youthSulaiman Philip US phenomenon Oprah Winfrey hosted 6 000 adoring fans at Gallagher Estate in Midrand at the first South African O Magazine O You event this week. Her appearance on the stage was met with the sort of rapturous applause she received from her audience for 25 years when her hit talk show aired. Winfrey drew a crowd of young and old, all eager to hear the message she has been advocating for as long as she has been famous: fulfil your destiny and live your best life. Or as she put it: “You want to be the fullest expression of who you are. When the time comes you want to be able to say you blew it out.” For more than 5 000 episodes of Winfrey’s talk show, her aim was to help her audience find a purpose to their lives. It was the same message she brought to her excited fans at Gallagher Estate, who hung on her every word. It was also the message shared by the guest speakers who preceded her. Author Ariane de Bonvoisin, radio personality Redi Thlabi and professional organiser and de-clutterer Julie Morgenstern shared the light touch of their host as they proclaimed a simple message: from change something good will come. For the South African women at the event, Winfrey’s assurances that they could take control in small ways and create lives of value had helped them find meaning in their own lives. They identified with her struggles, with her weight issues, with the abuse she suffered and the depression she overcame. As private banker Anthea Riffle put it: “We really do idolise her because we see so much of ourselves in her.” Powerful audience The audience was a cross section of the powerful – Agang leader Mamphela Rampele and first lady Thandeka Zuma – media personalities – the Raphaelys and morning TV host Leanne Manas – and young and old fans. The front of row, however, was given over to students from the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Samantha Page, the editor of O Magazine South Africa, used the event to announce the launch of the OWN network programming block on the TLC channel (DSTV 172). From 17 October, every Thursday and Sunday, Oprah’s fans will be able to watch her brand of feel-good spirituality. The OWN network, Winfrey’s broadcast group, was not an immediate success and she used the lessons she learned from righting that ship to advise people who got to ask questions at the end of her presentation. The most valuable lesson she learned, Winfrey revealed, was finding the right people. “Surround yourself with people who know how to make your vision come true.” She added: “Ultimately, you have to make money because you are a business. I let other people worry about that. I worry about the message. I am always, always, always about holding true to the vision and the message, and when you are true to that, then people respond.” In such interactions, she uses the story of her own life and her triumphs over adversity, discrimination and abuse to inspire the women who listen to her. Without a regular TV show to spread her message, she interacts on a more personal level and her most important South African audience are the girls she calls her daughters, the young women who attend her academy in Henley-on-Klip, in Gauteng. The academy This weekend, the academy held its third graduation ceremony. There are now 160 South African girls receiving university educations thanks to Winfrey’s largesse. “When Madiba asked me how Africa was going to change, I told him I believed it was going to be her women that would change Africa,” she recalled. The academy was established in 2007 to provide a superior education to girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. Winfrey’s generosity grew out of a conversation over tea with Nelson Mandela at his Qunu home about education’s role in alleviating poverty. Built at a cost of $40-million, the school’s first graduating class of 157 girls are now at universities around the world. At the time of the academy’s opening Winfrey said: “The best way to effect change long term is to give children exposure and opportunity and nurture them to understand their own power and possibility.” Winfrey is a child of poverty, whose talent and hard work has made her wealthy and famous. The more powerful and wealthy she has become, however, the more she has looked for what she calls “important work”. When asked, she points to the establishment of her academy and the time she spends with her girls as her most joyful. In 2000, when she promised Mandela that she would start a school, her desire was informed by the old women and young girls she had seen walking along the road. She told the Gallagher Estate audience that those women reminded her of the grandmother who raised her and the young girls accompanying them could so easily be her. The future Winfrey shared the story of an awakening she had as a three-year-old. Her grandmother’s most fervent dream for Winfrey was for her to find good white employers in America’s South. “I was churning butter while she was boiling clothes and she kept saying to me that I needed to learn how to do these things because I would need to know how to do them. I promised myself then that that would not be my future.” Pointing skywards, she ended by saying: “Every so often I tell my gran: ‘Yes I have wonderful white people working for me now.’” In all, 6 000 women and about 10 men spent a day being inspired and motivated by Winfrey. For her audience, the community that has formed around her is just as important; these are woman like Shamala Chetty, who attended with her sister and friends. “I was going through a rough time this year. It was nice just to be around other women, other people who have come through and survived,” she said. And that is the secret of Winfrey’s appeal to South African women, and perhaps to women across the world. “She gives me hope for my life. It feels as if she is the only person in the world who understands how I feel.”last_img read more